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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
7:32 PM Wed, Dec. 12th

Friday Catchall: School is in session; do you know the rules?

(Courier stock photo)

(Courier stock photo)

The Friday Catchall:

• SCHOOL TIME — Anyone who has read my columns for even a short period of time knows I am big on safety and preparation. The most common topic for this is wildfire season — the Prescott area’s annual cause of worry and distress.

Another is children — call it keeping them safe.

Well, school is in session again, and for everyone other than the little ones, school days bring congestion and rules of the road.

Yellow school buses are picking up their charges, kids on bicycles are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, and harried parents are trying to drop their children off before the day begins.

Now, it is never more important for drivers to slow down and pay attention than when children are present — especially before and after school.

Sadly, according to the National Safety Council, more children are hit by cars near schools than at any other location.

“Some parents picking up or dropping off children are traffic offenders too!” said Jim Knaup of Prescott Alternative Transportation.

It is not always those of us whose kiddos are grown and gone; however, we all must do the right thing.

And, it also is not only “infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks, bike lanes and paths) that prevents more kids from biking and walking,” Knaup said. “There are many attitudes and fears that must be met and worked through; there is not just the danger of crossing a street, there is also ‘stranger danger’ that can be a deterrent.”

Prescott Alternative Transportation does an annual Walk and Bike to School Day (Oct. 10 this year, www.walkbiketoschool.org) and has been working for years to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure around our schools, Knaup said.

Their federal grant funding through Safe Routes to Schools dried up, and some designated funds can’t be used any more, he said. “Nevertheless PAT is still here, and we are still interested in trying new ways to encourage healthier school children, as well as a healthier community.”

Yet, it starts with the adults. Watch out for the Munchkins darting out from between cars or not following the rules themselves.

• DID YOU KNOW? — Speaking of rules of the road, of course, you know we should never pass a bus from behind. It slays me how many people, though, will stop driving the other direction when the roadway has a median or is divided.

Folks, stop for the bus — from either direction if you’re on an undivided road — when it is stopped to load or unload children. If it is a divided road and you’re on the same side as the bus, you stop for sure!

Please also be alert; children often are unpredictable, and they tend to ignore hazards and take risks.

• DELLS — Watch The Daily Courier in the coming months for coverage of the Save the Dells effort and the Arizona Eco Development and its pending annexation, as all of it works through the process. You will find the first of many articles about this in Friday’s paper or online at dCourier.com.

• QUOTE — “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” – J.R.R. Tolkien (from “The Hobbit”)

• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): The 31st annual Cowboy Poets Gathering is underway this weekend. Great verse, good tunes and hometown fun. Visit dCourier.com or azcowboypoets.org.

Tim Wiederaenders is the senior news editor for The Daily Courier and Prescott News Network. Follow him on Twitter @TWieds_editor. Reach him at 928-445-3333, ext. 2032, or twieds@prescottaz.com.